This is the first post in a 10 post series.  We’re going to find the best instruments at each price point up to $1,000.  This is subjective, but I will provide rationale.  I will also look at the new and used markets.  Onward!


I always recommend looking at used instruments first, because of the value.  You can save a ton of money and get a much better instrument buying used.  So there.

  1. Squier Affinity Strat/Tele.  These sell for around $200 new, and you can find them used for half of that.  The Affinity is a low end guitar with low end pickups and low end hardware, but you can adjust the truss rod and intonation, and they sound like Strats and Teles.  Pretty neat.
  2. Dean EVO XM.  If you want a Les Paul-style guitar, I like the Dean.  Yes, it’s low end from top to bottom, but it’s a better guitar than any used Epiphone you’ll find in this price range.  I’m looking at you, Epiphone Les Paul Special.  Believe it or not, you’re paying more for the “Epiphone” name.  The Dean is a better guitar.


You are going to struggle to find any new guitars for $100 or less.  But I have to pick something…

  1. Mitchell MM100.  If you can find one.  Is this a good instrument?  No.  But I’d buy this over the Epiphone SL.
  2. There is no number two.

I also recommend buying a fret end file.  They’re around $15 and you should own one and learn how to use it if you’re buying budget guitars.  Go to the link below and watch the video.  It’ll be invaluable if you buy any guitar mentioned on this page.

So there you go.  My fave on this page is the Affinity Strat (used.)  They’re not that bad, and they’re very easy to mod.  A good choice for a beginner who doesn’t know if they want to play guitar.  Or as an emergency backup guitar.  It’s hard to beat a Strat with a humbucker – it can cover every style of music.